THE EPARCHY OF Ss. PETER AND PAUL OF MELBOURNE FOR UKRAINIAN
CATHOLICS IN AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND OCEANIA
31st August 2017
STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT
The Ukrainian Catholic Church has a universal expectation for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. It holds their care, safety and wellbeing as central and fundamental responsibilities of the Church. This commitment is drawn from and inherent to the teaching and mission of Jesus Christ, with love, justice and the sanctity of each human person at the heart of the Gospel.
All people, especially children and vulnerable adults have the right to feel safe and be protected from sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
The Ukrainian Catholic Church in Australia has zero tolerance of abuse and all allegations and safety concerns will be treated seriously and reported in line with our legal obligations, our moral obligations and our Church policies.
Creating safe environments is a dynamic process that involves active participation and responsibility by clergy, parishes, schools, families and communities. It is marked by collaboration, vigilance and proactive approaches across policies, procedures and practices.
Every person involved in the Catholic Church has a responsibility to understand the important and specific role he/she plays individually and collectively to ensure that the wellbeing and safety of all children and vulnerable adults is at the forefront of all they do and every decision they make.
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania (the Eparchy), is in a privileged position of trust in relation to those who are in their pastoral care. It is committed to the safety of all people who identify with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, culture, and heritage and to providing a safe and welcoming environment.
The Eparchy is a signatory of the ’Towards Healing’ principles and procedures, responding to complaints against personnel of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.
This policy guides our priests, religious personnel and parishioners of the Eparchy on how to behave with children and vulnerable adults and what steps need to be taken by them should concerns be raised.
All abuse causes harm. Even injuries that are not visible can be profound. They can strike at a sense of identity, make children and adults fearful or ashamed, and reduce their ability to participate in their community.
If a child or vulnerable adult is at immediate risk of abuse or their life is in danger, police/emergency services should be contacted on 000.
Our commitment to best practice Our Church is committed to meeting all State and Federal legislative requirements as well as protocols and procedures approved by the Church. Our Church is committed to preventing child and vulnerable adult abuse and identifying risks early, and removing and reducing these risks.
Our Church is committed to regularly training and educating priests, religious personnel, and volunteers in the Eparchy on child and vulnerable adults abuse risks and will develop robust procedures and practices for clergy, religious personnel, parishioners, and volunteers to adhere to.
All allegations and safety concerns will always be treated very seriously. We have legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when we are worried about a child’s or person’s safety.
The Eparchy aims to ensure all children, families and parishioners know what to do and who to tell if they observe abuse or are a victim, and if they notice inappropriate behaviour.
The documents ‘Integrity in Ministry’ Towards Healing’, contain standards, principles and procedures which must be followed by clergy, religious personnel and Eparchy volunteers.
All persons engaged in child-related activities are required to hold a ‘Working with Children Check’ (WWCC) and to provide evidence of this check. Please check the appropriate WEB site in each State for further information as requirements vary.
The Eparchy maintains a register of Church members’ WWCC. Each Parish must also maintain a register of WWCC’s.
Our Church takes its legal responsibilities seriously, including:
- Failure to disclose: Reporting child sexual abuse is a community-wide responsibility. All adults who have a reasonable belief that a sexual offence has been committed against a child or a vulnerable adult have an obligation to report that information to the police.
- Failure to protect: People of authority in our Church will commit an offence if they know of a substantial risk of child sexual abuse and have the power or responsibility to reduce or remove the risk, but negligently fail to do so.
We all have a responsibility to report an allegation of abuse if we have a reasonable belief that an incident took place If an adult has a reasonable belief that an incident has occurred then they must report the incident. Factors contributing to reasonable belief may be:
- a child states they or someone they know has been abused (noting that sometimes the child may in fact be referring to themselves)
- behaviour consistent with that of an abuse victim is observed
- someone else has raised a suspicion of abuse but is unwilling to report it
- observing suspicious behaviour.
A person will not commit this offence if they have a reasonable excuse for not disclosing the information, including a fear for their safety or where the information has already been disclosed.
We are fair and just towards all Church members. The decisions which will be made when assessing incidents, and undertaking disciplinary action, will always be thorough, transparent, and based on evidence.
All allegations of abuse and safety concerns will be recorded including investigation updates. All records will be securely stored.
If an allegation of abuse or a safety concern is raised, updates to children and families on the progress and any actions the Church takes, must be made.
All personal information considered or recorded will respect the privacy of the individuals involved, whether they be clergy, parents or children or other parishioners, unless there is a risk to someone’s safety. We have safeguards and practices in place to ensure any personal information is protected. Everyone is entitled to know how the information is recorded, what will be done with it, and who will have access to it.
This policy will be reviewed after 12 months and thereafter every two years, and following significant incidents if they occur. We will provide Church members with opportunities to contribute to any review of this policy.
Further information: National Committee for Professional Standards
Phone: (03) 9320 2560
Address: 35 Canning St
North Melbourne VIC 3015
This Policy is in force with immediate effect.
Dated: 31st August 2017